Breakfast Tea on a Tray: Chunky Applesauce

Fresh applesauce is so easy to make that I don’t know why I ever buy the stuff in the jar. Early apple varieties are in season now, including my favorite Gravensteins. For a special treat leave the peels on red apples and your applesauce will turn pink. You’ll have to run this through a food mill though to remove the peel.

1 quart apple cider or juice
3 pounds apples, a couple varieties, cored, peeled and chunked
¼ to ¾ teaspoon cinnamon, optional
¼ to ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, optional
Maple sugar or light brown sugar, optional

In a large heavy pot, cook the cider down over medium heat until reduced by half. Add the apples and the spices, if desired, Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook gently until the apples have cooked down and are very soft, about 45 minutes. Taste and if you wish, add a little sugar, perhaps a tablespoon or two. Depending on the varieties of apples you use, some may remain somewhat chunky after the rest have virtually dissolved. Serve warm or chilled. The applesauce will keep in the fridge, covered, for at least a week and can be frozen for even longer.